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Old 14th May 2006, 08:14 PM   #1
Alan
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Default A Catalonian Prime Minister?

I saw the following news report - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4770685.stm which, if you can't be bothered reading it basically says that just over half of English people would oppose a Scottish Prime Minister (of the UK), on the basis that Scotland has its own parliament. That means you Gordon Brown! Given that Catalonia has its own parliament, I wondered what the feeling was like in Spain.

I wanted to ask two things:
  • What is the opinion on a Catalonian Prime Minister in Spain?
  • What is the opinion of the English people amongst you about a Scottish Prime Minister (of the UK)?
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Old 14th May 2006, 09:56 PM   #2
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Well, Tony Blair is not entirely un-Scottish (born and schooled in Edinburgh, Scottish father). This poll surprises me a bit, though if people were asked "is it right for a Scottish MP to be prime minister now Scotland has its own parliament?", I think that's a bit of a loaded question, sort of encouraging the answerer to respond negatively.

I am English and quite happy to see a Scottish PM (though not Gordon Brown).
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Old 14th May 2006, 11:17 PM   #3
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Dare I assume you mean Menzies Campbell?

I was surprised by this as well, but I do see where they're coming from. It must seem incredibly unfair to the English at the moment with all the other countries within the UK controlling themselves. But remember that England has 10 times the number of people as Scotland, and therefore 10 times the say and can easily overrule the wishes of any other UK country using Westminster. That said, Labour do abuse their Scottish MPs to pass motions in England that would otherwise be rejected. But hey, that's what the House of Lords is for eh?

There are only three ways for these people to feel fairly treated:
  1. Closure of the Scottish Parliament.
  2. The set up of an English Parliament, separate to Westminster.
  3. The independence of UK member states.
(1) isn't going to happen. It was voted in with a 75% majority. But, if SOMETHING doesn't happen, then England will only grow to resent Scotland's status. This is something I completely understand, but it can only lead to (3). Therefore, if the UK is to remain, the only other option is (2), which the English won't vote for because they fear that it will lead to (3). Maybe it would, I don't know. I think though, that a Pandora's box has been opened with the Scottish Parliament.

Do these arguments apply in Spain?
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Old 15th May 2006, 08:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan
Therefore, if the UK is to remain, the only other option is (2), which the English won't vote for because they fear that it will lead to (3).
Not so sure it's the English who fear this or the MPs (or more likely the cabinet) in Westminster who fear it (after all, they would lose a whole lot of power). The idea of a Scottish PM doesn't bother me - but a PM whose constituency is in Scotland is another thing, since that person could potentially be leader in both parliaments - oh what havoc he/she could wreak!
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Old 15th May 2006, 01:32 PM   #5
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It seems to me that if we want Britain to be the UNITED kingdom, then we can have no devolution. However, if the various regions want autonomy then they should have no right to influence the governing of any other area. As a enthusiastic supporter of the EU I feel that, given that Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland want their own parliaments, then we should split into independant nations and individual members of a United States of Europe. At least this would mean the Ulster would be someone else's problem!
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Old 15th May 2006, 01:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan
I saw the following news report -
  • What is the opinion of the English people amongst you about a Scottish Prime Minister (of the UK)?
When Scotland finally gains independence will every English Ward get to send an MP to their parliament. Unlikely, eh?

At the moment the Scots, the Welsh and the N Irish (as of this morning) Have their own assembly, the main purpose of which can only be to provide more opportunities for employment for the political classes.

So now everyone in the UK has three levels of representation except of course the English who have no parliament of their own free from Scots, Welsh and Irish lobbyists.

What a strange beast our democracy is.... if Catalonia or Scotland ever need a Deputy Prime Minister we have one already paid for at Westminster that as of last week has nothing to do except ride round in one of his Jags and " Perve the Melons" (Daily Mirror I think) of any pretty young blonde that is within arms length - where are the women MP's baying for his blood - laying low incase Gordon might think them too forward to be in his cabinet when it comes.

Is the perception of politicians the same in Spain? - members of an overpaid, underworked talking shop that has a 24 hour subsidised bar.

I'm with Alan and Richardksa on this one - If they want Independence let em have it, If not shut down the regional assemblies and do it all from a central parliament - the venue could rotate now we all have magnificent buildings paid for in the main by English tax payers (due to the higher population of Engleand vis-a-vis the other three). This would no doubt go down well with the parliamentarians who could maintain a home, and a mistress posing as a secretary in each of the participating countries!!

And if the newly independent countries fail? Well there'll soon be plenty of jobs in Eastern Europe!!

Last edited by gary; 15th May 2006 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 15th May 2006, 01:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary
Is the perception of politicians the same in Spain? - members of an overpaid, underworked talking shop that has a 24 hour subsidised bar.
I don't think it is quite as harsh as that in Spain, but certainly that they are a bunch of windbags

As for a Catalan Prime Minister... I find that highly unlikely. Just can't imagine it, especially now the Catalans are so keen to sperate themselves. In fact I will uprate 'highly unlikely' to impossible. No one would vote for them!
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Old 15th May 2006, 02:32 PM   #8
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If Scotland were to gain full independence, it would pose some awkard questions about who actually owns the North Sea oil.

Again, as an English person I am not remotely bothered that other regions have their own limited-power parliaments and we don't have an equivalent English parliament. The reason is because they are traditionally sidelined (and historically oppressed) minorities and we aren't. The much talked about "West Lothian question" doesn't trouble me at all, probably because I don't think the Scottish MPs Socialist influence does us any harm at all.

I think those who want an English devolved parliament forget that England is far from a unified nation itself; the north feel culturally different from the south, the Cornish have their own cultural identity etc.

In general, it is a strange phenomenon that in the era of globalisation and eroding of national power, regional politics and rivalries in Britain and Spain are actually becoming more important. Tensions between Catalans, Basques etc seem very high here in Spain and there are plenty of people around who want to fuel feelings of separateness (here in Leon there is graffiti everywhere in an invented "Leonese language" in the hope of gaining autonomy from Castile).
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Old 15th May 2006, 02:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
If Scotland were to gain full independence, it would pose some awkard questions about who actually owns the North Sea oil.
1. theres not much oil left now - but the void will be useful for filling with greenhouse gasses when we are forced to go back to burning coal, of which theres plenty.

2. Any of the drilling stations owned by the oil companies that are outsie territorial waters will pimp the stuff ashore (I know about the spelling mistake but decided to keep it!) in the country that gives them the best tax break - remember that the revenue the government gets is from the duty not from the sale of the product.
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Old 15th May 2006, 03:37 PM   #10
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True, North Sea oil is past its peak, but it's still (along with gas) the source of billions of tax revenue that could be going entirely to an independent Scotland, if there were one.

Sounds like independence would have made more of a difference 30 years ago though: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4303750.stm
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Old 15th May 2006, 04:05 PM   #11
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I've had a bit to catch up on in this thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardksa
It seems to me that if we want Britain to be the UNITED kingdom, then we can have no devolution. However, if the various regions want autonomy then they should have no right to influence the governing of any other area. As a enthusiastic supporter of the EU I feel that, given that Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland want their own parliaments, then we should split into independant nations and individual members of a United States of Europe.
I agree with you 100%. Of course, I don't want it to be the United Kingdom The EU makes the UK unnecessary in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary
When Scotland finally gains independence will every English Ward get to send an MP to their parliament. Unlikely, eh?
Hang on a second - you're implying that Scotland is sending its MPs to England's parliament. It's Scotland's parliament too, and Scotland should be sending its MPs there. But, as I've said, I don't believe they should be voting on English-only matters. However, that is perfectly legal at the moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary
I'm with Alan and Richardksa on this one - If they want Independence let em have it, If not shut down the regional assemblies and do it all from a central parliament
Not quite my view - I would rather have devolution than nothing. But, independence is what I would want in the long run. It's just that I can only see devolution leading to MORE autonomy and not less. And the status quo will not remain, so independence is the probable outcome in my view.


Quote:
Originally Posted by poncedeleon
The much talked about "West Lothian question" doesn't trouble me at all, probably because I don't think the Scottish MPs Socialist influence does us any harm at all.
No, but it does mean that Scotland is influencing matters over which it should have no control. AT ALL. Just because the Socialist view suits you doesn't make it acceptable. The Scottish vote is more left wing and Scotland is politically different to England, and for that reason, we should not be able to vote on matters that only affect the English. UK matters yes, English matters, no.


Quote:
Originally Posted by poncedeleon
Sounds like independence would have made more of a difference 30 years ago though: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4303750.stm
I saw this and was surprised by how little impact it had on the news. This was a massive lie designed to hold back the movement for Scottish independence.

Last edited by Alan; 15th May 2006 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 15th May 2006, 11:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poncedeleon
True, North Sea oil is past its peak, but it's still (along with gas) the source of billions of tax revenue that could be going entirely to an independent Scotland, if there were one.
could being the operative word - no government (ie an England that was no longer in a United Kingdom) would let the revenue go without a fight.

PS most of the gas is off the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coast any gas that lies off Scotland is in the domain of Norway and Denmark

Map of the Yorks/Links gas fields

Last edited by gary; 15th May 2006 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 16th May 2006, 12:12 AM   #13
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I don't think the oil revenues are such an important argument any more. They're almost finished, and yes, Scotland and whatever the rest of the UK is called would have to come to a deal over what happens to it. But it's not the deal maker or breaker it once was.

The gas fields are within Norwegian and Danish territory, yes, but that's the case now anyway. There's no reason for that to change given the split of the UK. And yes, some of the gas is in the territory of England. But somehow, Spain managed to negotiate fishing rights in Scottish territory (how that happened I do not know), so it depends on what happens there.

But anyway, the oil question is not related at all to Spain. I was trying to draw comparisons to the Spanish question and to ask about the possibility of a Catalonian Prime Minister of Spain, and whether that would be acceptable to the people of Spain outside of Catalonia. Are there any views on that?
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Old 16th May 2006, 02:18 AM   #14
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This is speculative but as long as each region is represented similarly, I wouldn't imagine there being much objection to a Catalonian Prime Minister, as long as he's not trying to represent Valencia.
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Old 16th May 2006, 02:18 AM   #15
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This topic is way above my head, British Politics are confusing
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Old 16th May 2006, 07:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cubix
This topic is way above my head, British Politics are confusing
I'm ashamed to say (as a Brit) that I am in the same boat as you... Been away too long!

(But it's definitely intersting, please carry on!!)
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Old 16th May 2006, 11:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cubix
This topic is way above my head, British Politics are confusing
Think of it as a sort of soap opera where the participants can break the fourth wall to collect taxes and start wars in the real world.

I heartily recommend the programmes Yes Minister, and Yes Prime Minister - very British sitcoms in which suggests that its the civil service and advisers that run the job and the elected members are something of an inconvenience
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Old 16th May 2006, 12:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary
I heartily recommend the programmes Yes Minister, and Yes Prime Minister - very British sitcoms in which suggests that its the civil service and advisers that run the job and the elected members are something of an inconvenience
A bit dated now, but they're very funny Mind you, I suppose nothing changes . . .

For something related to today's politics, Try Bremner, Bird and Fortune. The three of them are excellent at acting the politician. I don't know how far this programme reaches . . . but Rory Bremner is an impressionist, and the other two are comedians. They don't do impressions, but their generic politician characters are very good
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Old 16th May 2006, 02:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan
Bremner, Bird and Fortune.
youre right - I wonder if some of the sketches and interviews would be really hard to follow if you didnt have the local political knowledge and a particularly British love of cruel satire.
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Old 16th May 2006, 03:54 PM   #20
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Yeah, sometimes to get all the jokes, you have to have been paying attention to the news that week. I still think it's possible to learn about how politics works from them though
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